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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Should I judge him based on his friends?

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Author Topic: Should I judge him based on his friends?
Gilraen
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About a month ago I started dating a new guy (H). We've known each other for about 13 years, and we've always been sort of interested in each other back and forth. We lost track of each other for a while but I started talking to him again back in March, and last month we started a casual relationship. We go on occasional dates, and we've been having sex. Everything has been really fun and relaxed. He's a great guy to be around and makes me feel very comfortable and safe. He's very open and communicative for the most part, and whenever I've expressed a concern he's listened to me.

However, lately I've been having some doubts about him. Not because of anything he's done, but because of some of his friends. There are a few guys in another state that he does a podcast with. I've never met any of them, and know little of them outside of what he's told me and what the podcasts have revealed. The point of their show is supposed to be "guy talk the way it's meant to be" - sex, alcohol, pranking, general jack***ery, & etc. It's a really stereotypical portrayal of guys. Now, I listen to the show, and sometimes it's really funny. Lately, however, I'm becoming really uncomfortable with the way they talk about women. Especially because they sometimes name names. On one of the last shows, for example, one guy (J) got a text from an ex girlfriend telling him she was going to be upset if she finds out he's talked about her on the show. He proceeded to tell all the guys about their first time. And he kept saying her full name. I'm not sure if this will be edited when they post the actual podcast (I was listening to the live broadcast) but it made me really uncomfortable. I'm also uncomfortable because J keeps making these weird comments about me on the show.

After H and I spent the weekend together last week, they all asked him if he got laid. After some hesitation and pressuring from them he was like "Yeah." Okay, that's fine I guess. I mean, it's no secret that we're sleeping together. And it's "guy" talk or whatever. I assumed they knew by now anyway. But then J was like "B?? You slept with B??" and his reaction was really messed up. They were doing the show on webcam and when one of the other guys was like "Wait what's up is she gross or something what's going on?" J was nodding and acting like H made some huge mistake or something. This really, really offended me. I have a lot of self esteem issues as is, and it upset me that someone I don't know and have never met would insinuate that there's something wrong with me and that H shouldn't be with me. I said something to H about it after and he was like, "You know it's J, it's no big deal, he doesn't want a girl stealing me away from the guys cause two of the other guys have girlfriends and they're never available now, it has nothing to do with you. He offends everyone." etc. I kind of shrugged it off. Maybe this guy is just that big of a jerk. Whatever. But on the same show that J brought up his ex, they were talking about "crazy ex girlfriend stories". When H got to his, J was like, "So is this like the B situation or what?" H didn't acknowledge him and things just kind of moved on without me being mentioned, but I'm wondering what he meant by situation. What situation am I causing or involved in? I'm going to ask H when he gets home what he's been telling them about me and him, but it's really starting to upset me. And I'm scared if I bring up that I have an issue being talked about on the show, J will just find more reasons and excuses to talk crap about me on there. I mean, for now nothing has really been that bad, but especially if they start bringing up my last name or talking about me in more than a passing sense, I'm really not going to be okay with it. H is always really good about talking about his exes and intrigues on the show. He doesn't say names usually, and he's always really brief and nonspecific. When they tried to get him to dish details about us having sex, he refused to and redirected the conversation. I don't know if it's because he knows I listen to the show, or if it's because he isn't that kind of guy (I don't think he's that kind of guy, he's never seemed to be), but I appreciate it all the same. He's not nearly as raunchy or outrageous as the rest of them.

All the same, how should I handle this situation? I know I need to talk to H, but I'm not sure how to approach him about it. I don't want to stop trusting him because his friends are jerks, but it's really getting to me. I'm worried he's been talking crap about me to them behind my back, even though he's never done anything to show that he'd be that kind of person. Should I judge him based on his crappy friends? I also don't want this to be a me-or-them situation. But I know that they talk trash about everyone's girls on the show even though I'm pretty sure that the one guy's girlfriend is upset about it too. I don't think telling H about my discomfort will help me at all. If anything it'll make me a bigger target.

Posts: 30 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Good to see you, Gilraen!

You know, I don't think there should ever be a problem with asking for the kinds of privacy a person will often want and need in this regard. As someone who does the kind of work and writing I do, for instance, I've always made a point of talking to partners of mine, and sometimes friends, about what they are or are not comfortable with me discussing about our lives publicly. When in doubt, I'll check things with them first, too. And I have had partners who have made pretty strict boundaries and limits about what I do or don't say about our private lives in public. I totally get that, and always work hard to respect that. Just because I may choose to go without some privacy for what I do doesn't mean I get to decide that for other people, or that others have the same comfort level.

Now, you can't control what his friends do or don't talk smack about on their podcast, but you certainly can set limits with H, and ask him to set those same limits with his friends. Hopefully, he'll totally respect that, and hopefully, he cares enough about you and has enough personal integrity himself that if this friends won't respect that or are jerks about it, he'll take more steps down the line. And I think seeing how he handles that is going to tell you more about him than who his friends are, you know?

Personally, I don't think keeping all of this to yourself in a sound option. If you don't feel able to set really basic limits and boundaries with an intimate partner -- and I do think "please don't talk about our sex life when broadcasting" is mighty basic -- that I think you've got to really look hard at that to be sure this relationship really IS going so well, you know?

In other words, you say this person makes you feel safe, but I hear you saying you feel afraid to ask for something basic you actually need to feel safe. If that's so, something is in conflict here and the math isn't adding up.

Is this maybe about trusting H to be respectful and respect your privacy and boundaries but NOT trusting his friends and not trusting him to hold a line with his friends?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Gilraen
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I'm not really afraid to talk to him about this stuff. I'm a little unsure how I'm going to bring it up, but I can't keep quiet when something like this is bothering me.

I guess there are two issues going on. One, like you said, I don't trust his friends to be respectful and I'm worried if he tries to draw a line with them about me, they won't take it seriously. I don't want to become a bigger target just because they know it's bothering me. And I'm not sure he'd protect me, necessarily, if I did become a target.

The other issue is that even if H isn't talking crap about me on air, I don't know if he's doing it behind my back to his friends. Again, these are guys I haven't met, and the way they talk about me in passing on the show is always with a certain negativity. I want to trust that he wouldn't be like that, but I've been in relationships with some pretty two-faced people and sometimes I get scared it's going to happen again where I think I've found a guy who cares about me and finds me really attractive and really they're just using me for sex and talking crap behind my back like I'm crazy or clingy or something is wrong with me.

The friend issue shouldn't be too hard to bring up. I'll tell him I listened to the show and that some things really concerned me about how they talk about girls. I'm worried about confronting my trust issues with him, though. I'm not sure how to approach it - especially because he hasn't really given me reason not to trust him, it's just the stupid things his friends are saying (and it could just be his friends being jerks. I don't know if they exaggerate everything "for the funny" as one of them says, or if they really believe some of the crap they're saying).

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Gilraen
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I also have some concerns because a couple of my friends have said that if a guy has friends like this, I shouldn't be with him because the people a guy chooses to spend time with tell you a lot about the guy. I don't think it's true necessarily. And all I know of their personalities is how they act on the show, so maybe it's not like this all the time. But are people making a valid point when they say you can define people by the company they keep?
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Heather
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I think it really depends, per your last question.

have you and he ever talked about his relationships with these friends? About how HE feels about some of the ways they behave and the things they think?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68255 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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In terms of the reply you gave before the last one, it's seeming to me there are kind of two different groups of things going on here:

1) There are the things that are about what sounds like (if I got this wrong, feel free to correct me!) a more casual sexual relationship you're having right now, and some things you need around that, even if the relationship doesn't go any deeper, like managing the privacy of your current relationship and not having it broadcast and discussed among his friends as a venue for providing entertainment for themselves and their listeners.

2) Then it sounds like there might be bigger issues about this relationship being something that's either becoming less casual for you or that you want to be less casual. Like, you talk about how in the past, you've felt used only for sex and that isn't something you want. But I hear that now, this relationship is primarily sexual, so that's kind of a non-issue unless...well, it's not, or you don't want it to be. Do I have that right? If so, then it sounds like that's where the issues around bigger trusts and how seriously he takes this come up and need to come up, including being something you think about now in terms of your investment in this relationship.

Am I making sense? If so, does that sound right to you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68255 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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